English Language Change 2 (The S curve Model- Chen (Initiation- New word…
English Language Change 2
Language changes to suit the functions to which it is put
changes in technology and industry often men new words need to be created.
Some words change for no reason eg. 'Hound' to 'dog'
Only explains lexical change
Random Fluctuation and Cultural Transmission
Charles Hockney suggested language changes because of the constant changing context of language, producing unpredictable changes.
Lang change occurs as language is unstable, always having to adapt to new situations and speakers.
Lexical Gap Theory
Words created to fill a gap, for things we don't have words for. eg. feeling before sneezing
Explains direction of changes and we can predict the changes.
Only explains lexical change and some lexical gaps are never filled.
Lang changes through contact with other languages or speakers of regional dialcets.
Eg. Jewish New Yorkers, children changed accent to sound different form parents so pronounced coffee as 'k):fi:
Doesn't explin grammar or syntax changes, changes still occur without large numbers of non English speakers migrating in.
Usng features from a lower register in more places than we used to. Eg. work emails may start with 'hi' (informal)
Eg. shortened terms of address, 'won't', 'can't and slang all used more often
The S curve Model- Chen
- New word is invented
- Growth rate is rapid
- Rate of growth stops, everyone uses it
- some people don't go with change and stick with old fashioned term.
The Wave Model- Bailey
Distance (geographical, social ad temporal) has an effect on lang change.
Those closer to epicentre (point of maximum effectiveness) more affected by change.
- Trudgill says changes spread from cities to towns to smaller towns and miss out countryside.
William Labov- Social Bonding Theory
Begins with a small group pronouncing words differently form the population- becomes signal of social/ cultural identity.
People who want to be in the group adopt this difference.eg. 'A:KS'
Then spreads to other similar sounding words eg. 'task'
Process of how standard English was created.
Middle English had a few fixed rules, but had much more flexibility than at present.
Late 1600s lexical expansion occurred, fewer endings, pronunciation changed, shifted to early modern English.
Some early prescriptivists wanted to prevent these changes eg. Swifts Proposal
- 1755 attempted to fix spelling and definitions of words.
- tried to make English obey same rules as Latin.
'thou' should no longer be used.
no split infinitives
preposition before noun.
The Inkhorn Controversy
During 16th to 17th centuries, English increasingly used as a prestige language, writers began to expand vocab.
Some writers objected to the new words claiming they were artificial and pretentious.
The Art of Rhetorique
, tells people to write complicated things in clear English, own mothers could not understand people using inkhorn terms.